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Furthering cooperation on migrant smuggling in Myanmar

Nay Pyi Taw (Myanmar), 12 June 2017
- Twenty representatives of law enforcement agencies were brought together this week, for the latest in a series of workshops designed to boost prosecutions on serious cases of migrant smuggling.

The participants learnt how complex investigations could benefit from multi-agency cooperation, as well as from the proactive use of intelligence. Special emphasis was placed on the context of Myanmar, with interactive talks and up-to-date threat assessments from senior officials from the departments of Immigration, Anti-Financial Crimes, Anti-Human Trafficking Police, Maritime Police and Transnational Crime.

The smuggling of migrants poses a significant threat to Asia, generating an annual value of $2 billion for criminal groups. In recent years, there has been growing awareness of the potential human suffering that smuggled migrants can incur, notably since the Bay of Bengal crisis in Spring 2015.

This week's capacity training is the latest instalment of the UNODC project on Building Capacity to Investigate and Prosecute Migrant Smugglers, designed to boost the numbers of successful prosecutions in serious cases of migrant smuggling. Previous workshops in this series have been held in Thailand and Malaysia. Sub-regional sessions, designed to promote cooperation transnationally, are scheduled for later in the year.

Speaking to senior officials from across Myanmar's investigation and prosecution continuum, Colonel Kyaw Zeya, Director of the Law Enforcement Division of the Department of Transnational Crime, emphasised cooperation as key to boosting prosecution rates for high-level migrant smugglers:"It is not enough to work on preventing serious cases of migrant smuggling in isolation. Cooperation is necessary among law enforcement and prosecution agencies, as well as among governments across the region."

"By encouraging the use of proactive, intelligence-led investigations by law enforcement agencies, we aim to facilitate effective prosecutions in serious cases of migrant smuggling," said Benjamin Smith, UNODC Regional Coordinator on Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants.

Click here to read more on UNODC's work on combating human trafficking.

Click here to read more on UNODC's work on combating the smuggling of migrants.